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Mistakes to avoid during a traffic stop

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2024 | Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving

If you are pulled over while driving in Texas, your chances of receiving a ticket or being arrested will be far greater if you avoid some common mistakes. These mistakes fall into two main categories. The first kind is engaging in behavior that could antagonize the officer. The second kind of mistake is forgoing your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights by admitting guilt or consenting to a warrantless search.

Antagonistic behavior

Police officers are professionals, and they do not respond well when motorists argue with them during traffic stops or say things that could be considered offensive. You should never tell a police officer that your taxes pay his or her salary or he or she should be investigating real crimes instead of pulling over motorists, and arguments about what did or did not happen should be made in court and not at the roadside. Telling jokes or making light of the situation could also antagonize the officer, so you should try to remain calm and courteous.

Forgoing your rights

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects your person and property from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent. You may feel that the statements you make during a traffic stop cannot be used in court, but they can be. Police officers only have to read suspects their rights when they take them into custody, which means anything you say during a traffic stop can be used against you. You should be especially cautious about what you say if you could be charged with DUI. Consenting to a warrantless search and lying to the officer are also mistakes to avoid. False statements can be very difficult to explain in court, and you would be unable to prevent evidence discovered during a traffic stop from being introduced at trial if you consent to a search.

Making a bad situation worse

Being pulled over by the police can be nerve wracking. If you are stopped, you should avail yourself of your constitutional rights and treat the police officer with courtesy and respect. Becoming angry or combative or admitting that you did something wrong could make a bad situation even worse.